Archive for the ‘Social Networking’ Category

How to Find PR Opportunities Online Using HARO

<< by Alex Katzen on August 1st, 2013

I went over some useful tools for blogger outreach a while back and mentioned the importance of Google Alerts and other search Pictures PR How to Find PR Opportunities Online Using HAROplatforms to find bloggers, but it’s also important to consider other larger scale, generic PR opportunities.

Blogger outreach is great when you have something specific you want to share and promote. It’s more of an outbound PR tactic, though, relying on a high degree of relevance to, and relationships with, the bloggers.

A more inbound PR tactic, though, is serving as a source to writers on their articles and posts. For example, instead of conducting outreach on your content, you can provide expert information to bloggers and journalists on topics they’re writing about. One major source that I always find to be helpful is HARO (Help A Reporter Out). HARO is an “online service set up for journalists to quickly gather feedback from the public.” It’s an extremely useful tool for digital PR professionals because you can cover more ground, faster since the queries are delivered straight through email, and provide information to journalists who are already looking for sources.

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Relationships and the Importance of Listening – Why Social Media is So Powerful

<< by Michelle Doty on July 16th, 2013

Social media is all about cultivating relationships—with fans, clients/customers, prospective clients/customers, employees, anyone you deem relationship-worthy.  Just as with any new relationship, there’s something to be said about the courting process… to be successful, you really have to listen; actually listen. Not just go through the motions, really put your whole self into understanding what’s being said, explicitly and implicitly. You have to pay attention to tone and body language just as much as, if not more than, what’s actually being said; and on social media, the same holds true.

This has been said so many times on so many blogs over the years as social media has been a part of the cultural zeitgeist; but it bears y u no listen Relationships and the Importance of Listening   Why Social Media is So Powerfulrepeating, because too many brands are still not leveraging it the way they should be and engaging in the conversations that are taking place. There’s much more to pay attention to than the obvious @mentions of your brand. Instead, start empathizing and put yourself in your customers’ and potential customers’ shoes to determine the mentions (or keywords) you should be listening for. It’s easy to talk; it’s not as easy to listen, which is why the brands that do truly stand out.

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Vine vs. Instagram Video and What it Means for Business

<< by Sarah Lokitis on June 27th, 2013

We were recently asked:

What opinions do you have about the recent Instagram video feature, other popular short form video apps…and the impact they’ll have for businesses?

Online video is a great way to engage with your audience, and the success of  YouTube and Vimeo demonstrates that people really love watching video. In fact, 85% of the US Internet audience watch videos online! Attention spans online are shorter and you may agree with me that it’s sometimes easier to watch a video than read an article. YouTube says that “over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month…that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year”! With video trends on the rise and new ways to mark up video in search results, it only makes sense that video would be the next big trend in social media. The battle between Vine and Instagram is the most recent example demonstrating the growth in social video sharing:

Vine vs. Instagram


You may have heard of Vine – the video mobile service, owned by Twitter. Like Twitter, Vine places a cap on the length of the post, begging you to be creative with how you use the time. A lot of stop motion Vine videos have been posted, capturing the creativity Twitter means to inspire. Vine is set up for looping auto-play and lets you share on Facebook and Twitter and since you can embed it the videos to your site or blog may receive SEO benefit. See Dove’s first Vine post below:

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The Case of the Stolen Hashtag: Facebook and the Convergence of Social Networking Sites

<< by Michelle Doty on June 18th, 2013

good artists copy great artists steal The Case of the Stolen Hashtag: Facebook and the Convergence of Social Networking SitesAs you may have noticed, Facebook introduced clickable hashtags last week—a feature   that Twitter can be credited with popularizing, but one that has now become standard fare on nearly every social networking site, new and established—from Instagram to  Google+ – making Facebook quite late to the #party. Hashtags were originally used to help users find tweets concerning topics they were interested in, but they’ve moved on from that original purpose to become a cultural phenomenon, often used to convey irony. They’re still useful for grouping tweets, or discovering tweets from conferences or events, or following real-time news, but  they’ve arguably lost their original sheen. Even so, personally, I was happy to see the hashtag finally adopted by Facebook; my friends were already using them incessantly, why not make them clickable, searchable, and at least a little bit useful?

From the mouth of Facebook itself, “Hashtags are a first step in surfacing relevant and important public conversations.  Over time our goal is to build out additional functionality for marketers, including trending hashtags and new insights, so that you can better understand how hashtags fit into your overall Facebook advertising strategies and drive your business objectives.”

As with most of Facebook’s decisions these days, hashtags are yet another feature to make marketers happy, allowing for a potentially very effective way to target audiences in real-time, in addition to the already long list of targeting options available. While Facebook hasn’t announced any new ad features tied to hashtags just yet, you can be sure they will. If hashtags catch on, they have the potential to be that missing piece of the puzzle that Facebook has been waiting for to better understand its users. It has such a vast amount of information that users willingly divulge in their status updates, but even the most finely tuned algorithms (which Facebook’s Graph Search definitely does not seem to possess), can’t always discern what people are telling it. Think about all of the misspellings, the one or two word cryptic statuses that only those closest to the people sharing can understand, “Done.” If people began adding hashtags, along with Facebook’s emojis to express sentiment, Facebook would have a wealth of data that no other network possesses.

There’s a lot that remains to be seen before we can really start to assess the real value of this addition from both a user experience and marketing perspective. There’s a lot of potential, but it all depends on whether people choose to use these new features in ways that Facebook hopes—real-time news sharing for example—or, if instead, they decide to finally leave Facebook for other networks that haven’t become quite as commercialized, like myriad studies have shown teens are wont to do.

The problem with this feature-stealing, or copying—I’m not sure how to classify it exactly—is simply that the competing social networks are gradually becoming clones of one another.  With that said, this ‘borrowing’ of features across social networking sites is nothing new. Google+’s Plus One (+1) is the equivalent of a Facebook Like, Facebook’s ‘subscribe’ is the equivalent of a Twitter ‘follow,’ Google+’s new layout is strikingly similar to Pinterest, and Facebook’s Instagram is likely introducing videos on Thursday, blatantly borrowing from Vine… nothing new is actually all that new. With every change each site makes, it’s getting harder and harder to differentiate, and soon there may be little to tell them apart from one another other than their brand names—a Coke versus Pepsi dilemma.

soda wars coca cola pepsi The Case of the Stolen Hashtag: Facebook and the Convergence of Social Networking Sites

This isn’t actually a problem, it just means that marketers will have to become even more finely attuned to where their audience is actually participating online. Are they still using Facebook, or are they primarily on Instagram or Vine or Pinterest? There’s nothing truly new here, but the addition of the Facebook hashtag seemed like a great opportunity to drive home the fact that brands need to shy away from a Twitter-strategy or a Facebook-strategy and instead focus on the larger social media strategy, as it relates to the even larger marketing strategy—public relations, SEO, paid media, word-of-mouth, etc. Social media is just one part, and since these networks are changing daily to mirror one another, we all should be focused on the bigger picture, and stop chasing the one golden network.

Nonprofits Getting More Google Exposure Through the Knowledge Graph

<< by Sarah Lokitis on June 4th, 2013

Last week, Michelle shared some updates with Google+’s most used feature – Hangouts. This week I wanted to share how Google+ is tying itself into search results even more as it continues to grow and develop. Both this post and Michelle’s post show how Google has continued to combine Google+ with other Google products to allow users to get more relevant information faster.

If you aren’t already familiar with the Knowledge Graph, it is how Google attempts to “answer questions you never thought to ask” after you submit a search query. The Knowledge Graph appears in the upper right hand corner of the first page of search results and doesn’t yet appear for all queries. Google has an extensive program for nonprofits, which includes the Google Grants program and YouTube for Nonprofits, so it makes sense that they would want to continue to promote nonprofits to the best of their ability in organic search. On Google+, it was recently announced that the Knowledge Graph will further support searches for nonprofit organizations:

Screen shot 2013 06 02 at 7.51.56 PM Nonprofits Getting More Google Exposure Through the Knowledge Graph

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